Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (99)

Brendan Smith

Question:

99. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a building project (details supplied) in County Cavan will progress to the next stage in view of the fact that there is an urgent need to provide additional permanent accommodation at this school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45004/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning - Stage 2b - Detailed Design. A decision to grant planning permission for the project was made by the County Council on 23rd September 2013. The Design Team for the project has submitted an application for a fire certificate and disability access certificate to the County Council.

Due to competing demands on the Department's capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements it was not possible to include this project in the 5 year construction programme announced in March 2012. School building projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, which were previously initiated but not included in the current five year construction programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in the future.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (100)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

100. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a list of the schools providing secondary level education for children with autism, serving the Dublin 15 and Dublin 7 areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45023/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's policy is focused on ensuring that all children, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

The policy is to provide for children with special educational needs, including autism, to be included in mainstream schools unless such a placement would not be in their best interests or the interests of the children with whom they are to be educated. Some children may be supported in a special class attached to a mainstream school. These students have the option, where appropriate, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. Other children may have such complex needs that they are best placed in a special school. The establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country has been a key educational priority in recent years. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports, including the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

Details of the special classes for children with autism, including details of special classes for children with autism in the Dublin 7 & 15 areas, are available on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie. The contact information details for individual schools is available on the Department's website http://www.education.ie/en/find-a-school.

School Uniforms

Questions (101)

Robert Troy

Question:

101. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason some post-primary schools are requesting students to purchase expensive school blazers as part of the uniform that are only to be worn to and from school (details supplied). [45058/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I have already expressed my concern in relation to costs incurred by parents on school uniforms. This is a matter on which I believe schools must take account of the wishes of parents.

During the course of this school year I will be publishing my plans for a Parent Charter that will strengthen the position of parents generally within our school system. I believe that changes to the Education Act 1998 will be important in underpinning such a charter and will form part of my proposals.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (102)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

102. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if eligibility for a higher education grant will be reconsidered in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45075/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that due to a change of circumstances the student referred to by the Deputy applied to have his case reviewed. SUSI are currently awaiting documents from the student and the case will be fully reviewed on receipt of outstanding documentation.

Departmental Correspondence

Questions (103)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

103. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a reply will issue to a query (details supplied) raised with his Department on 23 September 2013; the reason for the delay with the response; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45079/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The query to which the Deputy refers in being addressed in the Pension Unit of my Department. All email queries are acknowledged and directed to general information on the website as many queries relate to general pension information. When the query relates to a specific matter, the response is provided when the matter is investigated and this is the position in respect of the query to which the Deputy refers.

Institutes of Technology Issues

Questions (104)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

104. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the process of replacing a chairperson of an institute of technology (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45169/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Chairpersons of the Governing Body of Institutes of Technology are appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills in line with the provisions of the Institutes of Technology Acts 1992 to 2006. Section 2 (2) of the Second Schedule to the Act provides that the "chairman shall be appointed by the Minister and may be removed from office by the Minister". Section 2 (4) provides that the chairman shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the Minister may, at the date of the appointment, decide.

Chairpersons of Governing Bodies of Institutes of Technology do not receive any fees but are entitled to travel and subsistence expenses which are met by the Institute.

Overseas Students Data

Questions (105)

John Lyons

Question:

105. Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of Chinese nationals coming here for study over the past four years; his plans to grow this number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45174/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

With close on 5,000 Chinese students registered in Irish higher education institutions, China is the second source market for international students coming to Ireland. Figures provided by Enterprise Ireland on the number of Chinese students coming here since 2006 are as follows:- 2006/07 - 3,573; 2009/10 - 3,355; 2010/11 - 5,105; 2011/12 - 4,554. Figures are not available for 2008/09.

In March of this year, I visited Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, accompanied by thirteen higher education institutions on an Enterprise Ireland education mission. The programme included educational promotion and alumni engagement events, the launch of strategic initiatives including UCD's Beijing-Dublin International College and the signature of 13 agreements between Irish and Chinese education institutions. Next month the Secretary General of my Department will lead a joint working group between both Education Ministries to further develop the framework for education co-operation.

Irish higher education institutions are actively investing in China and there are now 125 joint programmes between sixty five Chinese Universities and seventeen Irish HEIs. My Department and Enterprise Ireland have been working collaboratively with the sector on a strategic plan for 2014 which will include an emphasis on alumni engagement, social media, education agents and targeted trade missions and fairs. The Government remains committed to deepening and growing our relationship with China and will monitor progress closely.